IDEX 2015

Forty Light naval gun breaks cover [IDX15D2]

24 February 2015

Italian armaments house OTO Melara (Finmeccanica, Stand 06-A03) has lifted the veil on a new-generation lightweight single 40mm naval gun system designed to provide small craft with a bigger punch. Making its official debut at IDEX 2015 yesterday, the all-digital Forty Light non-deck-penetrating mounting has been designed to take advantage of a new generation of 40mm ‘smart’ ammunition based on OTO Melara’s 4AP programmable fuze.

The company told the IDEX Show Daily that the decision to bring the Forty Light to market reflected projected requirements for a shipborne gun able to provide greater range and lethality than existing 30mm weapons, but of a weight and size enabling installation on vessels down to patrol craft size. Building on OTO Melara’s long heritage in 40mm weapons, the Forty Light is engineered around a high rate of fire (300 rounds/min) 40/L70 cannon fed from a 72-round ready-to-fire magazine. Weighing approximately 1,900kg without ammunition, the gun assembly and ammunition box are enclosed within a compact and stealthy carbonfibre gun shield. Platform space, weight and power requirements are claimed to be essentially the same as those required for a 30mm mounting.

A dual-feed mechanism allows the gun operator to switch between programmable and conventional ammunition.

According to OTO Melara, the “full integration between high rate of fire and modern programmable ammunition enables the system to engage efficiently and effectively a large number of targets”.

The new programmable 40mm round integrates a 4A40 OM smart fuze that leverages 4AP fuze technology previously developed by the company for 76mm, 12 mm and 155mm applications. The 4A40 OM fuze supports four different modes of operation: proximity mode; gated proximity mode; time mode; and impact/self-destruct mode. Target proximity is calculated using a microwave RF sensor.

OTO Melara is proposing three Forty Light variants matched to alternative fire control philosophies: Type A is a full remote-control version slaved to a combat management system; Type B integrates a co-axial high-resolution daylight TV camera to provide a reversionary autonomous mode; while Type C is a fully autonomous configuration incorporating its own micro-fire control system based on an on-mount electro-optical director equipped with a daylight TV, a cooled thermal camera and an eye-safe laser rangefinder.

While the Forty Light displayed at the show is a full-scale mock-up, OTO Melara is already working on an engineering development model. First trials are planned to start in mid-2015.

(392 words)